When it comes to business development for professional services, one of the biggest challenges professionals face is finding time to do it all. After all, you don't sell full-time. Your work, whether it's consulting, accounting, IT, financial services, or engineering, is what you do full-time. It can be very difficult to find time to create and develop the relationships necessary to bring in new business.
Many people want to believe that cold calling doesn't work because they don't want to have to get on the phone. Indeed, there are many ways to do it wrong and fail. Many cold callers use deceptive tactics to get through and leave a bad taste in buyers' mouths.
Do you know what it’s going to take to reach your sales target? It’s not enough to have a quota or even set goals for yourself—you need to know exactly what to do daily to accomplish your goals.
What Is Sales Prospecting? Prospecting is the first stage of the sales cycle in which sellers identify potential buyers. The goal of prospecting is to create interest and then convert that interest into a sales meeting.
66% of respondents agree that people in their organization don’t dedicate enough time or energy to prospecting, according to our Top Performance in Sales Prospecting research. Beyond that:
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “Put me in front of ten buyers and I'll close seven of them. All I need is more meetings.” I hear this from sellers all the time. They're convinced they'll get the hits if they just get more at-bats. But where are those at-bats going to come from? No salesperson ever hit home runs by sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring or their email to ding. To succeed in sales, you need to proactively generate a consistent stream of new leads to fill the front end of the pipeline.
Wouldn’t it be great if every single new prospect trusted you and your organization? Referrals are among the top ways sellers get leads and new business, but many struggle with generating them consistently. Often, this is because they haven’t thought about why buyers should refer them. They don’t have a system in place for generating referrals. If you’re providing a quality experience for your buyers, you’re already halfway there. Word of mouth is bound to generate new business, but a deliberate referral marketing plan will drastically improve the frequency and quality of the referrals you receive.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know social media, especially LinkedIn, plays an important role in sales. But you may be surprised by just how big that role is. According to LinkedIn research, 89% of top sales professionals find social networking platforms such as LinkedIn important to closing deals. Indeed, our own research reveals the majority of buyers—82%—will review your LinkedIn profile, and, yes, judge you, before accepting a meeting or otherwise connecting with you.
TL;DR? Download the PDF and save it for later. Many sellers assume buyers don't want or need to talk to them early in the buying process. This simply isn't the case. In fact, our prospecting research reveals buyers want to hear from sellers early. When Do Buyers Want to Hear from Sellers in the Buying Process?
As a seller, you’re trying to build relationships with potential buyers. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. The more you get to know your buyers, and let them get to know you, the easier it is to sell to them. But first, you have to break through the noise, capture their attention, and create conversations with them. This is easier said than done. To do this, you need to engage in what we call an Attraction Campaign. An Attraction Campaign is a coordinated series of messages with strong value-based offers deployed across multiple channels that'll get you on your buyer’s radar and make that buyer more likely to want to start a conversation.
How many times have you received a prospecting email or phone call and said, "Sure, let's meet right away?" If you're like most of us, it probably doesn't happen very often. If you're on the other side and the one sending emails or making calls, what's your success rate? Probably pretty dismal. Congratulations! You're like most of the people we surveyed.
There are few areas of selling filled with more uncertainty, challenges, and conflicting advice than prospecting. Success in sales prospecting requires breaking through the noise to capture buyers' attention and influence them to meet with you. Which begs a few questions: What does capture buyers’ attention? Do buyers want to hear from sellers, and if so, when? How should sellers reach out and connect with buyers?
LinkedIn is a powerful prospecting and sales tool. It’s a great way to connect with new buyers, stay top of mind, and engage with your network. The vast majority of buyers, especially company execs, engage with sellers on LinkedIn before making a purchase decision. In fact, we were shocked to discover that C-level executives consult LinkedIn more often than any other demographic.
This article was originally published on the Sales Enablement Society. Sellers often complain that it's impossible to get through to buyers. Gatekeepers are tough. Buyers are busy. Calls go to voicemail. Email goes to junk. The list goes on. While getting through certainly isn't easy, sellers who work at it do get through. In fact, 82% of buyers say they accept meetings at least sometimes with sellers who reach out to them.
How many attempts does it take to break through to busy buyers? What offers are most accepted? Do cold meetings convert to new business? In our new benchmark report, Top Performance in Sales Prospecting, the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research uncovered the answers to these critical prospecting questions. With data from 488 B2B buyers and 489 sellers, we've cracked the code on what works in prospecting today. This infographic highlights 30 must-know stats from our research and analysis and what they mean for sellers in today's world.
How many touches does it take to make a sale? The simple answer is: more than most people think! According to our Top Performance in Sales Prospecting research, it takes an average of 8 touches to get an initial meeting (or other conversion) with a new prospect. But the initial meeting is just the beginning. It takes a lot more to make the sale.
There are 2 stats that are cited in sales articles all the time: 57% of the purchase decision is made before a customer calls a supplier 67% of the buying journey is now done digitally The question, however, is so what? Sellers and sales leaders often interpret this to mean that buyers don't want to hear from sellers. This is far from the truth.
LinkedIn can be a powerful sales tool for connecting and building relationships with buyers, but many sellers don't know where to start when it comes to using LinkedIn for sales. To help you optimize your LinkedIn profile, and get started using it as a sales tool, we offer these 31 tips.
We all love repeat business, referrals, and inbound warm leads. The problem is you can’t scale warm leads. When these run out, so does your ability to grow your revenue, unless, of course, you prospect and drive new leads in the pipeline yourself.
Much of sales is about making connections.
As a seller, one of your most difficult tasks will be breaking into new accounts and setting meetings. Most of us have some form of cold prospecting in our past, so we all know how lonely it can sometimes feel. But if you want to be successful in sales, you need to be able to build your own pipeline and drum up your own business.
In our What Sales Winners Do Differently research, we found that the number one factor separating sales winners from second-place finishers is this: Sellers educated buyers with new ideas or perspectives. In other words, the seller became known as a source of insight.
What is the #1 challenge or issue you face when it comes to growing sales for your business? When I recently reached out to my network and asked that same question, 75% mentioned sales prospecting as their #1 challenge. The problem isn’t that people don’t know what to do; it’s that what they’ve always done no longer works. Want proof? Think about the last time you met an actual decision maker at a networking event, and that conversation led to a sale. How about from a cold call? Trade show? Advertisement? The simple truth is this: if you do what everybody else is doing, you’ll get the same results everybody else is getting.
Cold prospecting – reaching out to targets you don’t know to generate an initial meeting – is one of the hardest parts of sales. Partly, it’s a numbers game. With decision makers more insulated than ever, it’s getting harder and harder to get past gatekeepers and beyond voicemail. But what happens when you do get a cold prospect to pay attention – whether it’s because they picked up the phone, or responded to an email or a direct mail piece? Do you feel like you nail it every time? Much prospecting success is determined in this first interaction. Many opportunities die here before you have a chance to engage.
Prospecting and setting appointments via cold call is not easy. But learn to overcome these objections, and you'll instantly find more success in it. A recent business-to-business client of ours closed a mid-six figure deal that started with a cold call. But it started out rocky. Indeed, about 20 seconds in to the cold call it almost fell apart.
It's 2001. You work for a new company in the search engine space. Let's call this company Shmoogle. Shmoogle has this huge new idea—businesses are starting to grow based on getting found on the Internet. Why not have businesses pay per click to get found? Brilliant! You're a sales person at Shmoogle, and you know pay per click will be huge. You start prospecting on the phone.